SO MUCH IN our society seems broken right now: our democracy, our relationship to the natural world, our tolerance for cruelty and hate, and the dissolution of our public safety nets.
It would be so easy to focus this entire column on all that is horribly, intolerably wrong right now.
But this is not a column about the ugliness of these times.
This is a column about beauty and its role in the healing of our brokenness.
Singer/song-writer Phil Oches once wrote that “in such ugly times, the true protest is beauty” and I believe him.
It’s why the arts are so central to any resistance movement; it’s why so many of us — myself included — make a regular practice of kayaking, hiking, going to art galleries and listening to music.
Encounters with beauty can be immensely healing, bringing a sense of groundedness and a return to the core of what is ultimately important.
Beauty is the sister of all that is broken.
John O’Donohue wrote in his book, Beauty and the Invisible Embrace:, that “Beauty is such an attractive and gracious force precisely because it is so close to the fractured side of experience.
Beauty is the sister of all that is broken, damaged, stunted, and soiled.
She will not be confined in some untouchable realm where she can enjoy a one-sided perfection with no exposure to risk, doubt and pain.
Rather, beauty dwells in the palace of broken tenderness.”
Poet Rashani Rea touches beauty’s sacred place in the center of life in the poem “The Unbroken:”
There is a brokenness
out of which comes the unbroken,
out of which blooms the unshatterable.
There is a sorrow
beyond all grief which leads to joy
and a fragility
out of whose depths emerges strength.
There is a hollow space
too vast for words
through which we pass with each loss,
out of whose darkness
we are sanctioned into being.
There is a cry deeper than all sound
whose serrated edges cut the heart
as we break open to the place inside
which is unbreakable and whole,
while learning to sing.
Yes, beauty emerges, sometimes erupts, from a deeper place in us than the rational mind and the human ego.
It is a visitation of the sacred from a place beyond but also within us.
Beauty reconnects us with our own inner depths and also with the universe.
It is at the center of all creativity and dwells at the very heart of life.
We are so lucky here.
We are surrounded by beauty in so many forms, both natural and cultural.
How are you inviting beauty into your life?
Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. The Rev. Kate Lore is a minister at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Port Townsend. Her email is [email protected]